Ethical implications of emerging technologies

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Amid all the discussion recently about the issues for schools of students using many of the Web2.0 tools available to them it was refreshing this morning to find this resource (courtesy of Bill St Arnaud) from UNESCO titled “Ethical Implications of Emerging Technologies” – A Survey.

It addresses the ethical implications of such things as identity management, web services, grids, semantic web, RFID and other emerging ICT technologies. One of the major underpinnings of these new technologies is the need for identity management systems. As this report points out there are some very significant and troubling ethical issues with respect to identity management systems in terms of privacy, security and access to public information.

It’s a useful read for anyone interested in this issue – and even if you’re not, it provides a really good introduction to what many of these technologies are, how they are used and what the implications might be on how we live and work in the future. It includes a summary and explanation of 27 “infoethics goals for neutral technologies” and a series of case studies that illustrate and explain many of these issues more clearly.

An excellent background document that should be of interest to everyone who has a stake in ensuring that the online environment is a ‘safe’ place for our students to participate in.

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